Friday, January 11, 2008

return to sagada

december 23 - me and ab, my cousin left marikina around 7pm. we got stuck in cubao because of traffic so we came a little late for the 8pm cable bus to bontoc. there were two vacant seats in the other bus but we thought it wouldn't be a good idea for us to squish in at the back of the bus and sit for 12 hours to bontoc. we've decided that we'd come to sagada via baguio. we went back to cubao and got in the victory bus to baguio at 10:30pm.

december 24 - we arrived in baguio at 4pm. we had enough time to use the bathroom and for a good coffee at dunkin donuts. we came to dangwa station for the gl bus to sagada at 5am but i guess we came too early. bus didn't leave til 6am. at the terminal, we've met a german couple (the gehders) who later became our good friends throughout our trip to sagada.
we met rafael at a terminal in sagada around 12nn. rafael is lendehl's friend at the seminary and he was referred to us by him. we checked in ganduyan inn for only php200 per head a night. not bad because of its location, quite near the public market, and only a few blocks from the chapel. rafael is the man. he took us to his place at the a7house and cooked freshly-picked vegetables right from their backyard. after lunch, he took us to bokong falls, also known as small falls. it was my second time to visit this place. we stayed for a good swim and recorded some good videos and pictures. rafael was still a little uptight and a little formal. but he was okay.

after that, we came back to the a7house and rafael cooked for us again: veggies with some local smoked ham. he's a good cook, that i could tell. he had to prepare for the midnight mass at the chapel. we left a7house and headed back to ganduyan inn to shower while rafael went to the chapel. i met him there later that night.

me and ab checked out the yoghurt house and tried their strawberry and granola yogourts. they were really good. i wasn't sure if my cousin even liked it. maybe it was his first time to eat yogourt. we met oscar (john's younger brother) at the chapel during the children's presentation before the mass. after that, i met a friend at the log cabin, and realized that he was sharing the same table with the gehders. i also met gareth there with a tourist. gareth is a member and the current president of saggas (sagada genuine guides association).

me and the gehders went back to the chapel to witness the midnight mass. for some reason, the midnight mass was moved to an earlier time. i saw rafael at the mass and he was the one chanting. it was fun watching rafael do the chanting during mass. i never got the chance to talk to him after the mass. i thought that it was time for me to rest so i went back to ganduyan inn at 11pm to finally rest.

christmas day
- it was christmas time in sagada. it was a cold morning, yet everyone in the market was busy. me and my cousin decided to visit katrina and joseph at the lemon pie house. i met them before during my first visit to sagada. i remember them to a very warm and welcoming people. we met mang joseph along the way, and katrina and her son jeff were at home. we've had two slices of lemon pie and two slices of egg pie. they were so delicious. after breakfast we went back to our inn to get our equipment so we could start filming right away. oscar was supposed to meet us that morning for a tour, but we've never heard from him. he must be quite exhausted from yesterday's caving.

our first stop was the sagada church. it is located right in the heart of sagada. i have photographed this church numerous times before and i've never gotten tired of shooting it. next stop was the cemetery. john told me that lots in their cemetery are free, whether you are a local or a tourist. after our short tour, we came down the newly opened strawberry eatery, opposite log cabin. most of the restaurants in poblacion were closed and we were lucky to see strawberry eatery was open. gareth met us in the late afternoon and toured us to the sagada pottery and to lake danum to view the sunset. the weather wasn't cooperating that day so we were not able to get a good shot of the sunset.

gareth dropped us off at the alibama so we could check on daisylyn, the lead singer of tebag. andrew gave me a copy of their album last may, and i've used some of the tracks from that cd on my surviving sagada video. there we talked to daisylyn, her mom, and her uncle, jackson. jackson is kind of like the musical director of tebag. i talked to them about their album and told them how i would show to them my appreciation for letting me use their music to my videos. after we came to an agreement, ab and i had coffee at the newly opened 18 days coffee. afterwhich, we meet the gehders at the log cabin.

it was almost 11pm when we came back to ganduyan inn. i know that the community curfew's at 9pm but our hands were tired and we couldn't leave ganduyan inn, so we came really late. we were locked out for almost two hours. we were cold, it was dark and windy outside, and all that i could think of was the warm bed in my room. we've texted lendehl, that was in manila, who i thought was the only one that i know awake at that time, that could help us. he adviced us to just knock at the door, but that didn't work. the dog woke up but the owner didn't. ab was laughing so hard because of what was happening to us, which in my opinion wasn't helping us at all. later, lendehl texted verdy, another seminarian, currently in sagada, and asked him to check on us and maybe help us to get in. thirty minutes later, verdy came with his friends to help us. guess what they did... they just knocked harder.

december 26
- as usual, we woke up early and tried having soy milk and some rice cakes for breakfast. their rice cakes were tasteful but they've gone cold because of the cold weather. gareth advice us that he would meet us at the burial cave at 9am. so we left ganduyan at 8am so we could start filming on the way to burial cave. the burial cave is where you can see a large stack of coffins put on top of another. the scenery to the burial cave's very refreshing and awe-inspiring, with lots of pine trees and fresh air to breathe. we were so focused with our filming when gareth just jumped out of nowhere and scared the heck out of me. it was a very good one.

it was my second time to visit sumaguing cave. the first time, i was with john, the former saggas president, and i only took some pictures. gareth had to ask for some additional assistance from his friends, ervine and joven, with the lightings. the moment we came in, it felt like it was the first time. there was a chill in the air, and i could hear the squeaky sounds from the bats, not so far away. gareth gave a brief seminar about cave exploration, spelunking, safety measures, and how-to, to prevent accidents and injuries. then we started caving. i was so excited to document sumaguing cave on film. it took us almost four hours to finish the tour. my feet got scratched, my butt was sore, got dirt on our arms, we all got wet, and it was the best day of my life.

we were all starving after the caving so we decided to have a 4pm-lunch at the strawberry eatery again. oscar came by later to join us with sunset watching in lake danum. we were all losing hopes to see the sunset because the horizon was so hazy. the thick clouds and the strong winds almost made it quite impossible for us to see it. the sun would give us a glimpse and start hiding behind the clouds again. we stayed there for 30 minutes, and it was worth the wait. we've witnessed the sun touching the earth and it was such a spectacle. i should be doing this more often.

later that night, we came by the lemon pie house to film mang joseph making lemon pies. my cousin did most of the filming, while i did most of the pie eating. afterwhich, i met the rest of the saggas members over at lester's place. i offered them to take their profile shots so i can feature them in my blog. i thought it would be a great publicity for them. tourists should know who their tourguides are because they are basically putting their lives on their hands. i will post their photos very soon. we came back to ganduyan inn at 10:30pm to rest.

sagada is my paradise. i found ease and tranquility in here. i saw love in the faces of all the people i've met and beauty in its nature and culture. this place has a special place in my heart and i would like to share all of these to you. this was my return trip to sagada, mountain province.

this video is dedicated to the big man of sagada, the man with the biggest heart, mr. john magwilang.


Anonymous said...

hi wencel,, for me mas nagustuhan ko pa din first video mo ng sagada even the backgound music.

biyahengpinoy said...

well, you cannot use the same formula twice. i admit that my surviving sagada video was one of my best videos and to surpass it would be such a difficult thing to do.

i've used verdy garman's version of sagada hymn because everyone in sagada knows that song. i thought that it would mean so much to them. thank you for your honest comment.

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog and saw your video postings about Sagada. Very nice indeed. One mistake though, you credited Mr. Vherdy Gayman with the Sagada song/hymn. That song is by Mr. Dennis Faustino, the current principal of one of the high schools in Sagada. Thanks for making any corrections.

biyahengpinoy said...

anonymous, i was trying to say that verdy gayman interpreted the song but he never wrote it. post has been updated. thank you for the correction.

Dennis said...

you're right, sagada is a place where you can find tranquility. this must have been how baguio was many many years ago. i just hope it won't lose it's charm - the first time i was there a decade ago, it was even quieter - less cars.

boeboe said...

this is impressive. by the way, ano nga pala ang salita ng mga igorot? i always thought it was ilocano but i guess i was wrong.

Anonymous said...

nice one. just that some lyrics of the song aren't correct. please sing the original.

Anonymous said...

there is no mention of when you redorded the Verdy Gayman version of Sagada Hymn in your Blog.
Why is that Wencel?

Rainier Antonio said...

I'd like to thank the support I get from SAGGAS in the person of John Magwilang... Thanks a lot Sir! See my personal blog written at